Critics’ Picks

Brady Cranfield, Daydream Nation, 2009, still from a color video, 1 hour 12 minutes.

Brady Cranfield, Daydream Nation, 2009, still from a color video, 1 hour 12 minutes.


“Science Fiction 01”

Or Gallery
555 Hamilton Street
June 27–August 1, 2009

The exhibition “Science Fiction 01” presents a diverse gathering of works by eight artists that casts a light on contemporary art’s long-standing interest in the passage of time. Some of these pieces are finished, a few are about to be built, and others will exist sometime in the future. Teaching and Learning as Performing Arts Part II—Chapter 1, 1979, by the French Fluxus artist Robert Filliou, is a production that effectively functions as a recruitment video. In an attempt to be instructed in the disequilibrium of postmodernist self-multiplication, the artist appears on-screen as a narrator, occasionally taking lessons from a televised image of himself on another monitor. The subsequent broad questioning of moral depth, then, is the exhibition’s earliest appreciable bond to science fiction.

In Holly Ward’s ongoing work Object Relations, First Version, 2009–, an arrangement of objects on a table are cast away from their melancholic jumble-sale charm into a full-scale consideration of discarded use-value. Is a somber, waxy Pez dispenser shaped like Darth Vader, say, a more reliable guide to our own dimension than a warm-colored wooden olisbos shaped like Christ? Similarly, Brady Cranfield’s Daydream Nation, 2009, a video that connects with the nascent unfolding of the sci-fi experience, depicts simultaneous images of the artist listening to Sonic Youth’s iconic double album of the same name. For Kate Sansom’s Nothing Is Free in Waterworld, 2009, the artist is remodeling part of the gallery into a working office space. Her ambition here is to inform and organize visitors to help acquire the now-derelict floating McDonald’s restaurant “The McBarge,” a junk-food leftover from 1986 Vancouver world’s fair. By returning to the shows’ literal themes of time and space, this work flirts with finding not only a practical application for the proposed sculpture but maybe even a new use for the global franchise, thus saving the entire planet.